Horse of the year Charismatic dies aged 21

D. Wayne Lukas: trainer of Charismatic

PICTURE: Getty Images Horse of the year Charismatic dies aged 21 By Keith Melrose 8:31AM 20 FEB 2017

CHARISMATIC, who in 1999 came arguably closest to snapping the Triple Crown hoodoo eventually lifted by American Pharoah in 2015, has died in Kentucky at the age of 21.

He had returned to the US in December after more than a decade at stud in Japan. His former trainer D Wayne Lukas told the Daily Racing Form: "He looked good enough that you probably could have tacked him up and galloped him."

Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends where Charismatic was based, said: "Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable. Last night, at 6.30, he was fine. He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement."

Charismatic ran in a claimer in February 1999 but that same May landed the 1999 Kentucky Derby as an unfancied 31-1 shot and followed up in the Preakness. He also led the Belmont in the final furlong, but faded into third behind Lemon Drop Kid.

It was later revealed that he had fractured his near foreleg late on in the race. Despite the defeat, he was voted the horse of the year crown at the Eclipse awards.

After his retirement he had a moderately successful stud career. His most decorated progeny were Sun King and Wonder Acute, multiple lower-Group winners in the US and Japan respectively.

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